It was not until the summer of 1943 that equal pay was introduced for women. By now they were ferrying all classes of aircraft, with the exception of Class 6 flying boats. Other than one class they flew the same distances and the same aircraft as men.
In addition to pilots, women were recruited in other roles within the ATA. Four women flight engineers served with the organisation, unfortunately one of these women were killed in service.
The organisation was a tremendous sucess and grew apace during the war, by 1942 there were fourteen ferry pools, at least three being all female, Hamble, Cosford, Hatfield.
No 1: White Waltham
No 2: Whitchurch, nr Bristol
No 3: Hawarden, nr Chester
No 4: Prestwick, nr Ayr Scotland
No 5: Hatfield Herts, 1940/2 Luton Beds 1942/3
No 6: Ratcliffe, nr Leicester
No 7: Sherburn-in-Elmet, nr Leeds
No 8: Royal Naval Air Station, Sydenham Belfast
No 9: Aston Down, nr Stroud Glos
No 10: Lossimouth, Morayshire Scotland
No 12: Cosford, Staffordshire
No 14: Ringway, Manchester
No 15: Hamble, nr Southampton
No 16: Kirkbride, nr Carlisle
Central Ferry Control H.Q. 41 Group R.A.F. Andover Hants
Northern Ferry Control Prestwick Ayr.
Advanvced Flying Training School White Waltham
Elementary Flying Training School Thame Oxon Barton-in-the Clay Beds
No 5 : Training Ferry Pool Thame Oxon 1943
Communications ATA Movement Flight White Waltham
In September of 1944 Diana Barnato Walker managed to fly a Spitfire to Brussels with the permission from the Headquarters of the Second Tactical Air Force. As a result of her flight ATA women pilots were officially cleared to fly to the continent. The opportunity then became available for several women to ferry the Meteor, Britains first jet fighter.
Allied women pilots of the Air Transport Auxiliary
Margaret Frost, now in her late eighties hated heights, and was officially too small at just under five feet three to become a Spitfire pilot, but spent three years flying the aircraft. You had to fly the Spitfires without any radio, and the only way you knew you could land at an airfield, was when someone stood on the runway with a green light. The Spitfire was lovely to fly. I was lucky because the weather was kind to me, but others were not. Fifteen lost their lives flying in bad weather. Although I hated heights, it was different being enclosed in the Spitfire. I never flew higher than 2,000ft, but I have many memories of that time. Margaret welcomed the suggestion of a badge for her and her colleagues. I don't think any of us are expecting it, she said.
The remaining survivors of the ATA who flew just about every aircraft available during the second world war, are expected to be honoured with a special badge. The women may not have taken part in the Battle of Britain but, without their flying skills and courage in delivering aircraft to RAF bases for their male counterparts to clear the skies of German bombers, the battle would never have been won.
By the end of 1944 the number of ferry pools grew to twenty-two, and with the growth of the organisation the logistics and planning became a vital full time job for director of operations Philip Wills. It was his job, and that of every operations officer to allocate the flights, and the taxi Ansons for the women. They had to make sure that everyone was in the right place at the right time, and that the pilots had the right qualifications to fly the aircraft allocated to them.
The demand for aircraft grew, and during May 1941 it became neecessary for the women to deliver more advanced aircraft types, and in July 1941 Rosemary Rees, Joan Hughes, Winnie Crossley and Margie Fairweather were the first of the eight to fly these more powerful aircraft. They initially flew the Hurricane at their ferry pool Hatfield. It did not take long for them to be trained to fly all types, such as the Lysander, Spitfire, Walrus, and Mosquito. All the knowledge needed to fly these aircraft was given to them in a small folder five by three, known as the ferry pilots notes. It contained all technical data for each aircraft, speed and weight ratios, starting, stopping and stalling speed.
Women of the Air Transport Auxiliary's No 5 Ferry Pool based at Hatfield Hertfordshire
ATA No5 Ferry Pool Hatfield